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New Affinity Plus Branches Coming to Lake Elmo, Iron Range
Affinity Plus is proud to welcome 2 new branches to our credit union: Lake Elmo and Virginia, Minnesota.
In Lake Elmo, the new space will be located on the Northwest corner of I-94 and Keats, right next to Kwik Trip. The branch will feature full banking products and services, a walk-up ATM, and a single lane drive-up.
The branch offers visibility from I-94, is easily accessible, and will serve the communities of Stillwater, Lake Elmo, Oakdale, Oak Park Heights, North St. Paul, Woodbury, North Cottage Grove, South Maplewood, and members in Western Wisconsin. We anticipate a tentative opening in mid-October!
And in the Iron Range up north, we’re listening to our member requests and opening a location in Virginia. The Virginia location allows us to easily serve members from across the Iron Range, including the communities of Hibbing, Chisholm, Mountain Iron, Eveleth, Gilbert, Biwabik and more. We anticipate a tentative opening of mid-December.
We hope to see you at our new branch locations!
Student Loan Refinancing: 3 Months No Interest or Repayment
The state of student loan repayments has been in flux for the last several years, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And if you’re looking for some breathing room before starting payments again this fall, consider refinancing.
Since March 2020 – in the heart of the pandemic – federal student loans have been in forbearance. This means monthly payments have not been required, and interest has not been accrued on any federal loan.
As of June 2023, Congress passed a law preventing further extensions of the countrywide payment pause. Anyone with a federal student loan will have to begin making those payments again in October, and interest on the federal student loans will begin accruing again on September 1, 2023.
To help our members’ budgets adjust, Affinity Plus has a limited-time student loan refinancing offer.
Along with competitive rates and great service, you’ll also get:
3 months without repayment,
3 months without accrued interest.
Give your budget some extra time to adjust to student loan repayments, and refinance today.
Scams evolve with technology, just like everything else. A couple popular methods of scamming is via phone, text message or email, grifts called “phishing” and “smishing” (it’s phishing when it’s a voice call, and smishing when it’s text-based).
It could look like Affinity Plus is trying to get a hold of you for a very important reason, demanding your login info and other personal information. But we’d never ask that of you in an email or text.
The scammers are often trying to steal your identification credentials by having you respond to their demands, like clicking a link to a website you don’t know. And the preferred method to get your information? Fear and urgency.
So the first step to protecting yourself from phishing is remaining calm. And if you think you’ve been phished, successfully or not, please contact us!
Signs of Phishing
Phishing messages are often urgent demands for sensitive information that seek to provoke your emotions, which, if successful, could make you respond different than you might otherwise.
There are phishing warning signs to watch out for when you receive a text or email, including:
An unusual request about sensitive information, such as to transfer money or for login information;
Urgency: There’s often a demand that you act immediately, including urges to click links;
An unfamiliar greeting;
Spoofing: Disguising an email address, sender name, phone number, or website URL to make it seem like a trusted source at first glance. It would look like Affinity Plus trying to get a hold of you, but it’s often off by a single letter, number, or symbol. Scammers will also use phone numbers you have saved in your phone to make it look like the contact is trying to reach you.
If the message is urgent and demands your information, contact the person or company directly to be sure before you take any action.
If You’ve Been Phished
If you get caught in one of these scams – it happens! – remember that the first thing to do is stay calm.
Disconnect from the internet and don’t touch the keyboard
Change your passwords
Run a virus check
Report the attack to your employer if you’re using company equipment
Keep an eye on your accounts to watch for identity theft
And again – contact us! We can help you with the next steps.
The Future of Finances: Video Banking
Jeremy Rohdenburg believes video banking is the future. Based out in Richland, Washington, Jeremy belongs to numerous financial institutions across the country, opening accounts when he finds an agreeable bonus or gets a particularly great reference from a trusted source.
“In this era, you don’t have to go to the bank that’s down the corner just because that’s the one closest to you,” Jeremy said. “I’m trying to just go to places that have good reputations for customer service.”
It’s all part of his personal financial philosophy, based on Dave Ramsey’s idea of budgeting with cash envelopes for different goals and purposes. Only, instead of carrying cash everywhere, Jeremy uses his debit cards, and he’s given presentations on the subject to other financial enthusiasts.
And now his wallet proudly sports a debit card from Affinity Plus.
“I have friends who said it was a pretty great credit union, that they’re really easy to work with, and everything’s pretty modern,” Jeremy said.
But it was his video banking experience that really sold Jeremy on Affinity Plus.
While joining the credit union, he needed to speak with someone at Affinity Plus, and decided to try out the video banking option instead of calling. And though he didn’t have a scheduled appointment, the wait was brief, he said, and much less of a hassle than going down to a branch lobby or drive-thru.
“I didn’t have to drive 10 minutes down to the credit union, sit in the lobby and wait for another 10 minutes, then drive 10 minutes home,” he said. “Instead, I just did my work while I waited.”
He also appreciated the professionalism and problem-solving ability from Affinity Plus video banking employees, particularly Tiffany Dunn, whom he interacted with a few times. Tiffany was able to help him with his issues without passing him along to another department or employee, Jeremy said.
“Tiffany had the authority to help me with my problems and didn’t send me off to somebody else,” Jeremy said. “It got stuff done. The result was me being able to open the account.”
And as a parent of 2 who works from home, Jeremy said he appreciated the accessibility video banking offers Affinity Plus members. It was an easy, helpful, and consistent banking experience, all from the comfort of his home in Washington State.
“I want people to have the experience of doing the video banking,” Jeremy said. “It’s very freeing.”
Celebrate the 2023 Affinity Plus Foundation Scholarship Recipients!
We’re proud to present the 2023 Affinity Plus Foundation scholarship recipients, an awesome group of 15 student members all attending one of our partner college campuses. The Foundation awarded $60,000 this year, with each recipient receiving a $4,000 scholarship to put towards the cost of tuition and books. Congratulations to all of our 2023 scholarship recipients!
Meet our 2023 Affinity Plus Foundation Scholarship Recipients here.